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Procrastinators have a specific code.


Break the code — you win.

There is a set of assumptions that procrastinators make.

They may not be in the same order, but the assumptions are always the same.

The challenge for you, if you are a procrastinator, is to recognize the code comprised of these assumptions —  and break it.

Take a look at “The Procrastinator’s Code,”from the book Procrastination: Why You Do It, What To Do About It Now, by Burka and Yuen.

First step: recognize it.

The Procrastinator’s Code

Does this set of assumptions ring a bell with you?

  • I must be perfect.
  • Everything I do should go easily and without effort.
  • It’s safer to do nothing than to take a risk and fail.
  • I should have no limitations.
  • If it’s not done right, it’s not worth doing at all.
  • I must avoid being challenged.
  • If I succeed, someone will get hurt.
  • If I do well this time, I must always do well.
  • Following someone else’s rules means that I’m giving in and I’m not in control.
  • I can’t afford to let go of anything or anyone.
  • If I show my real self, people won’t like me.
  • There is a right answer, and I’ll wait until I find it.

Here’s how it plays out:

Let’s say that you are a perfectionist.

If you are a perfectionist, it may be safer to procrastinate than to risk imperfection — and risk being judged as a failure.

Or let’s say that you have convinced yourself somehow that success is dangerous.

Maybe one of your parents was successful and you equate their success with the breakup of your parents’ marriage.

Then you might try to protect yourself and others by procrastinating — by reducing your chances of doing well.

You get the idea.

Go through the list.

Identify the parts of the Procrastinator’s Code that you resonate with, then ask how this might be affecting your life and relationships.

As always, I’m here to help.

If you start to get into this and would like some feedback, just give me a shout at

Otherwise, check back next week for part 3 of this series.

I post on Friday evenings.

Next week, we’ll be looking at how to overcome your fear of failure.

See you then.